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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Nutty McBoycott

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A couple of evenings ago, Walski received a text message, that reads:

"Sms from London: Dear all, PLEASE ACT IMMEDIATELY! Starbucks & McDonalds, in the UK, are going to give all their profits to the Israelis until next Saturday. Spread the news. BOYCOTT Starbucks & McDonalds worldwide!! Sanusi Junid di London."

The only Sanusi Junid that Walski knows of is of the ex-Minister variety, and whether or not the guy is in London... well, let's just say that Walski doesn't maintain Sanusi Junid's social calendar.

Meanwhile, PPIM - The Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (yes, the same people with the "Crosses on Biscuits" crucifixation) - will apparently kick off a campaign to boycott 3 selected allegedly pro-Israeli products/companies, as reported by The Nut Graph.

Although the press release (originally from Bernama) didn't mention which companies specifically, a visit to PPIM's website tells us exactly who they have in mind - Coca Cola, Starbucks and Colgate, alleging them of being supporters of Israel. In addition to the 3 products mentioned specifically, PPIM has a separate listing of some 108 brand names (including the aforementioned three).

The press release does highlight one thing about PPIM, though - to them all Jews are bad, Zionist or otherwise.

More telling about the PPIM mindset, however, is their "choice" e-mail article: an allegation that Hinduism was created by the Jews!     
(jom boycott everything, and more, in the full post)

Unfortunately for PPIM, business today does not operate in a vacuum (unlike PPIM) - it's a Flat Earth economy - global businesses are connected in more than one way to other global businesses. And this includes interests, either direct or otherwise, reaching just about every corner of the globe, Israel included.

And will PPIM's nationwide boycott help stop the carnage that is happening in Gaza? And what would really happen, assuming their boycott is a resounding success?

It's time for Walski to give PPIM a bit of a reality check, he thinks.

First of all, Starbucks in Malaysia is majority (50.1%) owned by the Berjaya Group. Is PPIM also claiming that Tan Sri Vincent Tan is Jewish? Or Hindu (since according to PPIM's choice e-mail, they're pretty much one and the same)?

More importantly, however, go to just about any Starbucks outlet and observe who the employees are. The majority of them are Malay, and therefore Muslims. Assuming PPIM is successful, they're gonna be putting a heckuva lot of their own brethren out of jobs. Is PPIM going to find them new jobs?

Well, the press release doesn't go into such detail, unfortunately. Why? Probably because the thought of boycott alone sent them into such an ecstatic frenzy that other important details became unnecessary.

Again, assuming PPIM is successful, and puts Starbucks out of business in Malaysia, apart from Muslims loosing jobs, what else would happen? Best case, nothing. But worst case, Malaysia would lose a big chunk of foreign direct investment - who's gonna pay for our bloated civil service then? Isolating Malaysia economically at this juncture is probably not the smartest thing to be thinking about.

The point Walski's trying to make here is this: has PPIM thoroughly thought out it's proposed boycott, bearing in mind how real-world business works? Answer: Probably Not.

It's easy to get emotional over what's going on in Gaza. And as Walski has reiterated in his earlier post, how Israel went after Hamas must be condemned. As should the blockade that Gaza has been under. News of a UN school being shelled (via Al-Jazeera), killing innocent refugees, including children, has, quite frankly, broken the camel's back of world opinion against Israel in the Gaza Operation.

In fact, if you've been following the developments, a truce is currently being brokered by Egypt and France, which has also gotten the support of the US (via The Malaysian Insider). At this juncture, as Walski had indicated previously, a complete ceasefire is what's needed. It's not going to be easy, but let's hope there is some progress that would at least lead to a halt in fighting.

And if a ceasefire is achieved after the launch of their Nutty McBoycott, it would really be funny if PPIM actually claimed responsibility...